As the AshleyOut.com campaign gathers momentum and the calls for all fans to boycott the televised game against Spurs grow louder, the question that remains to be answered is, will people take notice and boycott the game or will they go to the match regardless?
I really do hope that people will stay away from the game but I fear that the majority will not and will trudge up to the ground like they do every game, mumbling about how bad things are, how we are going to get beat (again) and how we are sick of Ashley and his ways. Well in my humble opinion, if you do go to the game, you are part of the problem and not the solution.
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I know there are countless arguments about going or not going to the game, but for me there should not be any argument between us, we are Newcastle, Newcastle UNITED. But that’s where Mike Ashley is as clever as he is ruthless. He’s driving a wedge between fans and dividing us (Divide and conquer, the preferred method to efficiently deal with numerous opponents).
He’s routing the true fan and crushing our passion, our desire, our belonging and leaving us with his preferred demographic of fan base who don’t chant, don’t audibly complain and pay for their tickets through their businesses to entertain their clients every week without question.
Like I say, there are arguments for and against, everyone has an opinion. This is only my opinion, I’m not saying I am right or wrong. I chose not to give Mike Ashley any more of my money a long time ago. If I want to go and watch my beloved Newcastle play below par, clueless, amateurish football then I’d much rather give my local landlord my hard earned cash and watch it in the boozer with my mates. Again, I know many of you will say it’s not the same as going to the ground, you are probably right, this is merely my opinion.
What is not my opinion though and what is a cold hard fact, is that Mike Ashley is laughing at us all. He is laughing at me, he is laughing at you. He is laughing at my son when he wants the new Wonga Top for Christmas. He is laughing at my mates who have given up their season tickets after 20+ years because he knows some other mug is going to snap it up for next season. He’s laughing at you when he sends a message via The Chronicle saying that he’s going to sign some new players in the summer.
Well I don’t know about you, but I don’t like people talking the p**s out of me, my mates or my family, but that’s what he’s doing…
Well that’s what he was doing, he’s not doing it to me anymore. He still annoys me, infuriates me, sickens me, enrages me etc. etc. But he can’t get the one thing he wants from me, the only thing he wants from me… my money. Is he getting yours?
I don’t have a lot of money, nor am I poor. Would I like more money, probably? But what money I do have is earned by me getting up at 6am every day and going to work. I don’t intend to give Mike Ashley any of my money when all he offers me in return is contempt.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not tight. I love spending money on my lass, my son, my mates, but I like to get enjoyment out it. If I went for a meal with my family and they served me absolute slop, 3 courses of it, extremely overpriced and all the staff were rude and mocking me, I wouldn’t go back simple as that.
If I went to see a band at The Arena and the management had sold the lead singer, drummer and bassist and replaced them with French kids that couldn’t play, then I would want my money back. So why would I want to pay my hard earned cash to watch that rubbish at SJP every week?
I know many of you will be reading this saying that they are foolish analogies and that supporting the toon or football in general is totally different, it’s about the pride, it’s about the passion, it’s about supporting your local team…
However, there is no pride, not for me anyway. Our team, our great club, is a laughing stock. Everyone is mocking us; the media, other sets of fans, our owner. How does that make you proud? The players don’t play for the shirt or the badge. They aren’t your Alan Shearers, Philippe Alberts or your Les Ferdinands. These are young, below par mercenaries who are only bothered about picking up their money and looking to move on. But who could blame them? That’s who we actively scout for. Even the Collocinnis and Gutierrez’ are slowly being sapped of any pride because of the way the club is being run (The way Jonas was treated was unbelievably disrespectful and would only happen at NUFC).
There is no passion. The ground is devoid of passion, both on and off the pitch. But why would there be any passion? Both the fans and the players know we aren’t able to, or allowed, to compete for anything. So what’s the point? Why would the players bust a gut to win the game when their manager and owner doesn’t care if they win or lose (unless it’s a cup game when they are expected to lose)?
And as for supporting your local team, I think the increasing gate receipts at the likes of North Shields, Gateshead, Blyth Spartans etc. speaks volumes and is great on one hand, but sad on the other, as it shows that the true fan is being forced from their beloved NUFC by Mike Ashley. Newcastle United is no longer a local team but merely a money making juggernaut, trundling though the streets of Newcastle belching out poisonous bile, killing the dreams of all.
For me, something really does need to be done. I know that past attempts have been futile and sometimes laughable when the bed sheet brigade have been out, but at least they have tried. At least they show that they care. If everyone was united for once and pulled together to make a stand then it might…might just make a difference.
I know season tickets have been paid for, so financially – boycotting the spurs game won’t really make much of a difference to Ashley, but we have to start somewhere. From tiny acorns, mighty oaks grow. Other clubs can force their owners out, why can’t we?
Like I said at the start though, this is my opinion. I know it’s a contentious issue amongst us all and it has divided us but we need to try and pull together and fight for the greater good. Like Keegan said, as long as Ashley is in charge, nothing good will ever come of this club.
So for me, I will be watching the Spurs game with my mates who have rapped their season tickets – in the pub, pint in hand, having a laugh and a banter. If the weather is nice I might even put my pre-wonga toon top on. So why not do the same? Go to the pub with your mates? Watch it at home with your son/dad/brother? Take a drive up the coast and listen to it on the radio?
What you choose to do is entirely up to you. If you are happy for this to continue then you carry on doing what you are doing. If you think it’s acceptable the way Mike Ashley runs our club then that’s your opinion. If you think that we deserve to be fighting against relegation every year then that’s up to you. If you enjoy getting beat twice off the mackems every season then you carry on doing what you’re doing.
I’m not telling you what you should or shouldn’t do, but surely doing something is better than doing nothing? Surely…?
Martin Payne: (Newcastle fan, Ex-Supporter)
You can follow the author on Twitter @MartinPayne17